WEST CHESTER TOWNSHIP, Ohio – The heroin epidemic by itself is bad enough. Communities struggle to find ways to confront a growing number of overdoses.
Authorities report more and more users are cooking the illegal drug down in spoons and injecting it into their veins for a nearly instant high.
Emergency room doctors are scrambling to deal with those growing number of addicts who visit their hospitals for life-saving treatment
And, unfortunately, coroners’ offices across the Tri-State are seeing more business as well.
Since the beginning of the new year, Butler County’s coroner has seen 12 deaths from heroin overdoses. A total of 17 bodies examined have had heroin in their systems.
Over the weekend of March 22, in West Chester Township, emergency rooms at West Chester Hospital saw four overdose cases.
“We did have a heroin overdose today,” said Dr. Arthur Wall, an emergency room physician, on Tuesday, March 25.
Wall fears the epidemic will only grow worse now that health officials such as himself are seeing experimentation amongst users with the already deadly drug.
Emergency room physicians and law enforcement are starting to see addicts mix a powerful pain medication and opiate called fentanyl with their heroin injections.
“It creates a quicker and a stronger high,” Wall said.
So strong in fact, that users easily overdose and add to the tragedy that comes along with heroin addiction. And the mix means more heartache for communities across the Tri-State currently struggling to save lives.
“Fentanyl is such a more powerful medicine that they are overdosing at a higher rate and are at a high risk of death," Wall said.